Knowledge

Background

Recommended resources on the World Bank and IMF: 2017

26 January 2018

BOOKS

Adults In The Room: My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment Yanis Varoufakis, 2017

What happens when you take on the establishment? In this blistering, personal account, world-famous economist Yanis Varoufakis blows the lid off Europe’s hidden agenda and exposes what actually goes on in its corridors of power.

Against Colonization and Rural Dispossession: Local Resistance in South and East Asia, the Pacific and Africa Edited by Dip Kapoor, Zed Books, 2017

Against Colonization and Rural Dispossession argues that many economic initiatives undertaken in the Global South in the name of development are actually a form of continued colonization of these regions. Instead of creating stronger economic communities, this development has actually exacerbated poverty and led to the exploitation of labor across the Global South.

Agriculture and Rural Development in a Globalizing World Challenges and Opportunities Edited by Prabhu Pingali, Gershon Feder, 2017

Rapid structural transformation and urbanization are transforming agriculture and food production in rural areas across the world. This textbook provides a comprehensive review and assessment of the multi-faceted nature of agriculture and rural development, particularly in the developing world, where the greatest challenges occur.

Debunking Economics Steven Keen, 2017

Debunking Economics exposes what many non-economists may have suspected and a minority of economists have long known: that economic theory is not only unpalatable, but also plain wrong. When the original Debunking was published back in 2001, the market economy seemed invincible, and conventional ‘neoclassical’ economic theory basked in the limelight.

Development Aid—Populism and the End of the Neoliberal Agenda Viktor Jakupec, 2017

This volume examines the impact of the Trump presidency on development aid. It starts out by describing the rise of national populism, the political landscape and the reasons for rejection of the political establishment, both under Trump and internationally. Next, it gives a historical-political overview of development aid in the post WW-II era and discusses the dominant Washington Consensus doctrine and its failure.

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist Kate Raworth, 2017
Economics is broken. It has failed to predict, let alone prevent, financial crises that have shaken the foundations of our societies. Its outdated theories have permitted a world in which extreme poverty persists while the wealth of the super-rich grows year on year. And its blind spots have led to policies that are degrading the living world on a scale that threatens all of our futures.

Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why? Chelsea Clinton, Devi Sridhar, 2017
Presents an even-handed and thorough empirical analysis of global health organizations, whilst delivering the first ever analysis of public-private partnerships (PPPs) that exist to combat health problems and examines how PPPs might grow to be even more effective in their combating of communicable disease.

The Contradictions of Capital in the Twenty-First Century: The Piketty Opportunity. Pat Hudson and Keith Tribe (eds). Columbia University Press. 2017.
Editors Pat Hudson and Keith Tribe bring together contributors to respond to, and build upon, the possibilities offered by Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century. While George Maier would have welcomed more attention on the broader cultural, political and social facets of inequality beyond an economic frame, this is an intellectually stimulating collection that will be of particular use to those undertaking research projects examining inequality today.

The World Bank and Transferring Development Policy Movement through Technical Assistance Bazbauers, Adrian Robert, International Political Economy Series, 2017
This book analyses the World Bank’s provision of technical assistance from 1946 to the present day. It argues that the relational dynamics between technical assistance provider and recipient affects the legitimacy of policy norms travelling from the ‘international’ to the ‘domestic’. Beginning from the constructivist position that ‘development’ is a social construct, the author contends that successful policy movement via technical assistance depends on the recipient’s perception of the validity of policy reforms, with perception being influenced by the way those ideas and practices are presented, packaged, and transferred.


REPORTS AND BRIEFINGS

Are the Multilateral Organizations Fighting Inequality? 2017 Financial Impact Report Executive Summary Jose Antonio Ocampo, Jo Marie Griesgraber, Matthew Martin, Nathan Coplin, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2017

This Financial Impact Report assesses the role of the international financial rule-making organizations in reducing economic inequalities. The report reviews policies of the United Nations (UN), International Monetary Fund (IMF), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group (WBG), Financial Stability Board (FSB), and Group of 20 (G20) and scores them on a scale of 1–5 on their efforts and performance.

Cross Purposes: After Paris, Multilateral Development Banks Still Funding Billions in Fossil Fuels Oil Change International, October 2017.

Multilateral development banks provided over $9 billion in public finance for fossil fuel projects in 2016 – with the vast majority of transactions approved after the Paris Agreement was reached. Clean energy still made up less than a third of multilateral development bank energy finance in 2016.

Debunking the Myth of a Changing IMF: Unpacking Conditionality in the Arab Region Post-Uprisings Arab NGO Network for Development, Hassan Sherry, September 2017

This paper seeks to address renewed concerns about the role of the IMF in the context of its engagement with Arab countries since the 2011 uprisings. The following key question stands out for this purpose: Has the IMF, through its programmes in the Arab region, lived up to its narrative of advancing social objectives and greater flexibility in policy design, ergo providing a wider margin of policy space to Arab countries to adopt counter-cyclical measures – expansionary fiscal, accommodative monetary or exchange rate policies – to address challenges to their long-term sustainable development.

Dirty Dozen – How Public Finance Drives Climate Crisis Through Oil, Gas and Coal Expansion Big Shift Global briefing, December 2017.
This civil society briefing from the Big Shift Global campaign (www.bigshiftglobal.org) profiles twelve fossil fuel projects – the “Dirty Dozen” – that exemplify the massive volumes of public finance still flowing to fossil fuel projects.

Funding Clean Energy Access for the Poor: Can the World Bank Meet the Challenge? Bank Information Center, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation and Big Shift Global campaign, October 2017
In order to contribute to the fulfilment of SDG7 – which seeks to provide universal energy access by 2030 – the World Bank needs to make energy access a true priority by dedicating more money and creating more electricity connections, this report argues.

Great Expectations: Is the IMF turning words into action on inequality? Oxfam International, October 2017
What is the IMF doing in practice to operationalize its agenda for tackling inequality? The IMF’s main initiative has been a series of pilots that integrate inequality analysis into its economic surveillance of countries. This paper outlines Oxfam’s evaluation of these pilots and finds that they are not promoting policies that reduce inequality.

Greening Financial Flows: what progress has been made in the development banks? October 2017
While some multilateral development banks are making good progress on climate action, many are still financing billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects, despite mounting climate impacts and global commitments like the Paris Agreement reached in December 2015.

How Infrastructure is Shaping the World: A Critical Introduction to New Infrastructure Mega-Corridors Counter Balance, December 2017
Promoters of mega-corridors – mostly governments, financial institutions and trans-national companies – are planning to re-engineer the world’s economy through processes and forums from which the public is largely excluded. The building of planned mega-corridors would mean locking-in the current extractivist development model. This agenda is largely reliant on fossil fuels, mining and large-scale agribusiness. It is fundamentally incoherent with the fight against climate change.

IPN calls for improved supervision of environmental assessments World Bank Inspection Panel, April 2017
IPN launched its third Emerging Lessons Series report on the environmental assessment of World Bank projects at the IMF and World Bank spring meetings.

Is the global financial and economic system fit to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals? Eurodad, October 2017
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are ambitious objectives: business as usual will not deliver them. To meet this challenge, we will have to radically reshape national, regional and global economies. But if developing countries are to chart their own paths to prosperity, we must also rethink the way we govern and manage the global financial and economic system. A review of the current state of financing for development shows the nature of the challenge.

Not just lip service: advancing women’s economic justice in industrialisation ActionAid, November 2017
Women all over the world endure discrimination, poverty and violence simply because they are women. Despite having the right to participate in economic life without discrimination, patriarchal
norms underpinning state, social and family dynamics block them from doing so. Because current economic models are part and parcel of this patriarchal system, there is very little recognition of the contribution that women make to the economy through their unpaid care and domestic work and how this huge contribution is a barrier for women’s access to more and better jobs, leadership positions and equal pay. Global and country specific efforts to end women’s economic inequality must therefore tackle the problem through many fronts and reshape economic models so they work for women.

Orthodoxy, evidence and action: Labour rights at the World Bank International Union Rights, April 2017
In April’s issue of International Union Rights Magazine, the lead article by Peter Bakvis, ‘Orthodoxy, evidence and action: Labour rights at the World Bank’, charted developments in World Bank Group theory and practice in its approach to labour markets, including its controversial Doing Business Indicator.

Partnership Schools for Liberia: a critical review Education International & ActionAid, July 2017
This report reviews and analyses documents related to the Partnership Schools for Liberia (PSL) pilot. It particularly highlights the Baseline Report conducted by Innovations for Poverty Actions (IPA) (2017), and the Coalition for Transparency and Accountability in Education (COTAE) monitoring report (2017). The analysis focuses on three key areas: transparency and accountability, students and teachers, and sustainability.

Public good over private profit: A toolkit for civil society to resist the privatisation of education Global Campaign for Education, Sept 2017
This toolkit is a resource for civil society coalitions and organisations with a rights-based understanding of education, who want to better understand the development and impact of privatisation in the education sector in their country, and who may be thinking about, or have already embarked on, advocacy against the harmful effects of privatisation. While reflecting primarily the context of the Global South – both low- and middle-income countries – the toolkit draws on experiences and examples from around the world, and should provide useful background, insight and ideas for activists in any context or country.

Reclaiming Policies for the Public Spotlight, July 2017
A global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions presents today the report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017. It is published on the opening day of the High Level Political Forum at the United Nations in New York. The report provides the most comprehensive independent assessment of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Talk is Cheap: How G20 Governments are Financing Climate Disaster Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth – US, Sierra Club, WWF European Policy Office, July 2017
The same governments that have signed on to the Paris Agreement on climate change – which agrees to hold global warming to well below 2°C and to strive to limit warming to 1.5°C – continue to provide sweetheart loans, guarantees, and other forms of preferential financing to fossil fuel projects that could cause the world to blow past those climate targets.

Tax Games – The Race to the Bottom Eurodad, December 2017
Reducing corporate tax income means consumers have to pay more to fill the gap, and the report points out, this disproportionately hits the poorest and risks exacerbating inequality rather than reducing it.

Tax Revenue Mobilization: Lessons from World Bank Group Support for Tax Reform Independent Evaluation Group, 2017
The report found that, “with a few exceptions, reviewed DPOs [development policy operations] did not specifically address the efficiency and equity of tax systems.”

The IMF and Gender Equality Bretton Woods Project, Mae Buenaventura and Claire Miranda Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development, 2017
The gender dimensions of the IMF’s key fiscal policy advice on resource mobilisation in developing countries.

The IMF and Gender Equality: A Compendium of Feminist Macroeconomic Critiques, October 2017
This work is part of the Gender Equality and Macroeconomics (GEM) project, a collaborative effort between the Bretton Woods Project (BWP) and the Gender and Development Network, which aims to expose and challenge the way current macroeconomics policies, particularly those promoted by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, undermine gender equality. Working with allies globally, the GEM project encourages economic decision-makers to promote alternative gender-just policies.

I.Positioning women’s rights and gender equality in the macroeconomic policy environment
II. The gender dimensions of the IMF’s key fiscal policy advice on resource mobilisation in developing countries
Chapter II by Mae Buenaventura and Claire Miranda of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD) explores the gender dimensions of the IMF’s key fiscal policy advice on domestic resource mobilisation in developing countries, focusing in particular on the Value Added Tax (VAT).
III. The gendered costs of austerity: Assessing the IMF’s role in budget cuts which threaten women’s rights
Chapter III by Kate Donald and Nicholas Lusiani of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) focuses on expenditure policy, the other side of the fiscal policy coin. Their contribution addresses the role of the IMF in the defining macroeconomic policy approach of our era: austerity. It assesses the cost of this policy approach to women’s rights and discusses alternative approaches.
IV. Turning a blind eye to women in the informal economy. The IMF’s role in creating an enabling macroeconomic environment for women’s rights and gender equality
Martha Alter Chen and Rachel Moussié of Women in Informal Employment, Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) contributed Chapter IV on the IMF’s approach to labour market policies and its impacts on women in the informal economy in the Global South. This chapter also examines the Fund’s recent efforts at increasing female labour force participation and details the inadequacies of this approach.

The IMF and Social Protection: 2017 Evaluation Report Independent Evaluation Office to the IMF, July 2017
In July, the IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office published its latest report, The IMF and Social Protection, taking stock of the type of policy advice the IMF provided over the past decade on social protection. The report found the IMF’s targeting approach to social protection did not “mesh well” with the universal human-rights based approach of UN agencies.

Who pays for the Fund and the Bank? Bretton Woods Project, April 2017
Inside the Institutions looks at the funds available to the IMF and the World Bank, including the origins of IBRD and IFC resources and an overview of the most recent changes in the IMF and IDA’s funding streams and mechanisms.

World Bank Development Policy Finance Props up Fossil Fuels and Exacerbates Climate Change: Findings from Peru, Indonesia, Egypt, and Mozambique Bank Information Centre, January 2017
The report recommends that the World Bank should confront climate change by providing the right incentives for a clear pathway to low-carbon development. In doing so, they argue that the Bank stop introducing new fossil fuel incentives, including those provided through general infrastructure investment frameworks.

World Inequality Report Facundo Alvaredo, Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, Gabriel Zucman, 2017
The World Inequality Report 2018 relies on a cutting-edge methodology to measure income and wealth inequality in a systematic and transparent manner. By developing this report, the World Inequality Lab seeks to fill a democratic gap and to equip various actors of society with the necessary facts to engage in informed public debates on inequality.


ACADEMIC PAPERS

Accountability & International Financial Institutions: Community Perspectives on the World Bank’s Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman Roxanna Altholz, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, March 2017

The World Bank Group (“World Bank”) created the Office of the Compliance Advisor Ombudsman (CAO) in 1999 to ensure that development projects financed by its private-sector lending arm are environmentally and socially sound. This study examines the effectiveness of CAO in addressing complaints by private citizens about World Bank-financed companies. The study uses quantitative and qualitative methods to offer an empirical view of how CAO works, what factors influence its approach and outcomes, and when communities believe it is effective and fair.

Are “New” Donors Challenging World Bank Conditionality? Diego Hernandez, World Development 96 [August 2017]: 529-549. 2017

This paper investigates whether World Bank conditionality is affected by the presence of “new” donors by using panel data for 54 African countries over the 1980–2013 period. Empirical results indicate that the World Bank delivers loans with significantly fewer conditions to recipient countries which are assisted by China. In fact these receive 15% fewer conditions for every percentage-point increase in Chinese aid. Less stringent conditionality is also observed in better off borrowers that are in addition funded by Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, but this effect vanishes after the start of the new millennium. In contrast, World Bank conditionality is rarely affected by aid inflows from DAC donors, and when it is, conditionality is revised upward. These findings suggest that new donors might be perceived as an attractive financial option to which the World Bank reacts by offering credits less restrictively in order to remain competitive in the loan-giving market and thereby cope with excesses in the supply of development resources.

Beyond neoliberalism: Reflections on capitalism and Education Steven J. Klees, University of Maryland, Policy Futures in Education. June 2017

Education within capitalism too often reproduces social and economic inequalities. Schools are depicted as failing and teachers are blamed. In this paper, I examine the discourses underlying this situation and the role of foundations in the US and the World Bank in developing countries in maintaining it. I look at the neoliberal remedy of privatization and the fundamental problems with capitalism. In conclusion, I consider alternatives to capitalism and within education.

Beyond the rhetoric of gender equality at the World Bank and the IMF, Günseli Berik, Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 38(4): 564-569. 2017

This article reviews the rhetoric and practice of the IMF and the World Bank in promoting gender equality. It shows that these institutions, in making the case for the synergy between gender equality and economic growth, neglect both the potential of gender wage inequality to stimulate growth and the macroeconomic enabling conditions for gender equality. In practice, they fall short in promoting gender equality due to their limited conception of it, narrow assessment criteria and continued insistence on neoliberal and austerity policies

Defending supremacy: how the IMF and the World Bank navigate the challenge of rising powers, Ali Burak Güven, International Affairs 3(5): 1149-1164. 2017

The analysis launches from a discussion of the normative, operational and competitive challenges the Fund and Bank face. It then discusses three coping mechanisms the organizations have employed over the past decade: 1) bolstering operations in low-income countries (LICs) and small middle-income countries (MICs); 2) adopting a flexible approach towards large MICs and in particular emerging powers to retain them in the organizations’ client portfolio; and 3) reinforcing and refining non-lending activity to preserve normative authority. The effectiveness of these adaptive efforts in addressing the challenges of multipolarity is variable, comprising a mix of modest gain, abject failure and untested promise. Implications for the organizations’ efficacy also remain uncertain.

In case of emergency, break-open glass”: The IMF’s “new” institutional view, financial instability, and financing development processes, D.T. Rafferty, Review of Radical Political Economics, 49(4): 543-550. 2017

After the North Atlantic Financial Crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shifted towards a greater acceptance of capital controls (what it calls capital flow management measures) for regulating international capital flows with the publication of its “New” Institutional View. This begs the question of what such a change means for developing economies; specifically, whether the new framework addresses the needs they have for producing financial stability. That is the topic examined in this paper.

Investing in Murder: Honduran farmers sue World Bank’s lending arm for fuelling land conflict Lauren Carasik, World Policy Journal, 34(2) [Summer 2017]: 24-30. 2017

The Aguán River in Honduras runs through a fertile valley stretching inland from the country’s Caribbean coast. For the past two decades, the lower reach of the river valley, or the Bajo Aguán, has been the site of a violent land conflict that has cost more than 100 farmers their lives and whole communities their security. The strife in the Bajo Aguán is not just locally driven: It has been fueled by the World Bank Group’s private-lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which provided critical financial support and backing to the Dinant Corporation, a Honduran agribusiness at the center of the deadly dispute. In so doing, the IFC exercised egregious judgment and violated the protocol it ostensibly put in place to protect vulnerable communities.

Is global inequality getting better or worse? A critique of the World Bank’s convergence narrative, Jason Hickel, Third World Quarterly 38(10): 2208-2222. 2017

The dominant narrative of global income inequality is one of convergence. Recent high-profile publications by Branko Milanovic and the World Bank claim that the global Gini coefficient has declined since 1988, and that inter-country inequality has declined since 1960. But the convergence narrative relies on a misleading presentation of the data. It obscures the fact that convergence is driven mostly by China; it fails to acknowledge rising absolute inequality; and it ignores divergence between geopolitical regions. This paper suggests alternative measures that bring geopolitics back in by looking at the gap between the core and periphery of the world system. From this perspective, global inequality has tripled since 1960.

Liberia’s Experiment with Privatizing Education Steven J. Klees, University of Maryland, October 2017

To experiment with the possible privatization of its primary education system, Liberia initiated the Partnership Schools of Liberia (PSL), which turned over the management of 93 public schools to eight private contractors. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) study was set up comparing the PSL schools with matched public schools. A report on the first-year results of the RCT was recently published by the Center for Global Development. This paper is a critical analysis of the report and draws three main conclusions.

Neoliberalism with a Feminist Face: Crafting a new Hegemony at the World Bank, Elisabeth Prügl, Feminist Economics 23(1): 30-53. 2017

Neoliberalism has been discredited as a result of proliferating crises (financial, ecological, care) and mounting inequality. This paper examines the growing research on gender at the World Bank as a site for the construction of a new hegemonic consensus around neoliberalism. Drawing on a computer-assisted inductive analysis of thirty-four Bank publications on gender since 2001, the paper documents Bank efforts to establish a positive relationship between gender equality and growth; shows the expansion of the Bank’s definition of equality as equal opportunity; illustrates how the focus on institutions has enabled engagement with core feminist concerns, such as equality in the family; and traces how incorporating notions of women’s empowerment and agency has made possible a focus on domestic violence. The paper concludes by emphasizing the ambiguous effects of the Bank’s new neoliberalism, which continues to use the market as the arbiter of social values while providing openings for feminist agendas.

Public Private partnerships in education and health in the global South: a literature review Sonia Languille, Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy, March 2017

This paper presents the findings of a literature review on public private partnerships (PPPs) in two sectors – education and health – in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It highlights the heterogeneity of the category within and across sectors and shows that the key predictions of the PPP doctrine – cost-efficiency for improved social service delivery to the poor – are hardly fulfilled in practice. Moreover, PPPs – both as policy model and practical arrangements – are underpinned by a narrow conception of education and health, which denies their broader embedded within the economy and society.

Regulating capital flows in emerging markets: The IMF and the global financial crisis, Kevin P. Gallagher and Yuan Tian, Review of Development Finance, 7(2): 95-106. March 2017

In the wake of the financial crisis the International Monetary Fund (IMF) began to publicly express support for what have traditionally been referred to as ‘capital controls’. This paper empirically examines the extent to which the change in IMF discourse on these matters has resulted in significant changes in actual IMF policy advice. By creating and analyzing a database of IMF Article IV reports, we examine whether the financial crisis had an independent impact on IMF support for capital controls. We find that the IMF’s level of support for capital controls has increased as a result of the crisis and as the vulnerabilities associated with capital flows accentuate.

Structural adjustment programmes adversely affect vulnerable populations: a systematic-narrative review of their effect on child and maternal health Michael Thomson author, Alexander Kentikelenis, Thomas Stubbs, Public Health Review, December 2017

The present article systematically reviews observational and quasi-experimental articles published from 2000 onward in electronic databases (PubMed/Medline, Web of Science, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar) and grey literature from websites of key organisations (IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank).

The Effect of IMF Programmes on Economic Growth in Low Income Countries: An Empirical Analysis, Graham Bird & Dane Rowlands, Journal of Development Studies, 53(12): 2179-2196. 2017

Using an LIC-specific participation model, we adopt a propensity score matching (PSM) methodology to compare economic growth performance in countries with and without IMF programmes over the period 1989–2008. Concessional programmes are found to have had a generally positive effect on economic growth for up to two years after agreements were signed. The effects are contingent on other factors including overall initial economic conditions, recent prior growth performance, aid dependency, debt, IMF resources, recent history of IMF engagement and time period. We examine the implications of the results as the IMF considers how best to support the Sustainable Development Goals.

The impact of IMF conditionality on government health expenditure: A cross-national analysis of 16 West African nations, T Stubbs et al., Social Science and Medicine 174: 220-227. 2017

How do International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy reforms—so-called ‘conditionalities’—affect government health expenditures? We collected archival documents on IMF programmes from 1995 to 2014 to identify the pathways and impact of conditionality on government health spending in 16 West African countries. Based on a qualitative analysis of the data, we find that IMF policy reforms reduce fiscal space for investment in health, limit staff expansion of doctors and nurses, and lead to budget execution challenges in health systems. Further, we use cross-national fixed effects models to evaluate the relationship between IMF-mandated policy reforms and government health spending, adjusting for confounding economic and demographic factors and for selection bias. Each additional binding IMF policy reform reduces government health expenditure per capita by 0.248 percent (95% CI −0.435 to −0.060). Overall, our findings suggest that IMF conditionality impedes progress toward the attainment of universal health coverage.

 


ARTICLES, CAMPAIGN LETTERS, PRESS RELEASES AND BLOGS

Alto Maipo Project in Chile Under Scrutiny by Independent Accountability Mechanisms of World Bank Group and Inter-American Development Bank, Centre for International Environmental Law, March 2017

In March CAO found a complaint on behalf of communities affected by IFC’s investment in the Alto Maipo hydroelectric project in Chile eligible for further assessment.

Concerning: Public consultation on Recommended Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Contractual Provisions Joint letter, February 2017

115 civil society organisations from around the world sent a letter to the World Bank executive directors and its public-private partnerships (PPP) team stressing that they will not participate in its consultation on PPP contractual provisions until the Bank meets a series of demands.

Civil society calls for greater independence of Inspection Panel Letter, April 2017

In April, Civil Society Organisations wrote a letter to the World Bank executive directors calling for the inclusion of independent external stakeholders on the selection committee of the Inspection Panel.

CSOs call on World Bank to prioritise forests in climate action December 2017

A civil society letter calls on the World Bank Group to prioritise forests and forest peoples’ rights. The letter urges the Bank to open countries’ Forest Notes up to consultation, and the World Bank is urged to avoid funding direct and indirect causes of deforestation.

Debt sustainability review: Tinkering around the edges while crises loom Mark Perera, Eurodad and Tim Jones, Jubilee Debt Campaign, Bretton Woods Project website, December 2017

IMF and World Bank reviewed their Debt Sustainability Framework, and despite some positive changes, key issues ignored amid ongoing risk of new crises.

Feedback on the Concept Note for the World Development Report on Education (WDR 18)’ Oxfam, April 2017

Oxfam welcomes the focus on education in the upcoming 2018 World Development Report. However, supporting countries to achieve universal, equitable high-quality public education must be a core priority for the World Bank Group if it is to achieve its twin goals of ending poverty and promoting shared prosperity. It is also foundational to the achievement of the Sustainable Development agenda.

Guidance Notes for Environmental and Social Framework International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, IFI Policies for Equitable and Sustainable Economies’ Global Unions, March 2017

The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) submitted a letter to the World Bank Safeguards Team about safeguarding provisions on the use of public and private security personnel in its projects.

Statement by Global Unions to the 2017 Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank Washington, 13-15 October 2017

Statement by Global Unions recommending policies for equitable and sustainable economies for the IMF and World Bank.

IMF Stranglehold Pushing Tunisia to the Brink International Trade Union Confederation, March 2017

The ITUC sets out why they believe that the IMF is pushing Tunisia to the brink of economic and political disaster ‘with its refusal to release urgently needed funds at a time when the country most needs international support’.

Is Tax Justice the New Washington Consensus? Tax Justice Network, Alex Cobham, October 2017

A World Bank and IMF organised event during their 2017 annual meetings on taxing wealth in developing countries led Alex Cobham of Tax Justice Network in his October blog to ask, Is tax justice the new Washington consensus?

Landmark community dialogue in Nepal: Is the World Bank learning? Shankar Limbu and Siddharth Akali, May 2017

After a decade-long struggle by communities in Sindhuli, Nepal, affected by the World Bank-funded Khimti Dhalkebar Transmission Line (KDTL), an independent facilitator was hired to moderate a dialogue between the affected communities and the government-owned project implementing agency, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA).

MIGA: The dirtiest World Bank wing you’ve never heard of, Helena Wright (E3G), Climate Home blog, December 2017

The article suggests that one of the guarantees supported by MIGA in 2016 went to solar, wind or geothermal energy.

Protecting the victories of the ‘IMF Spring’ Max Lawson, Oxfam International, July 2017

Max Lawson outlines a fear that the vocal recognition by the IMF that inequality represents a major problem to human progress could be under threat.

Public Statement – The World Bank and IMF must stop fuelling inequality Fighting Inequality Alliance, October 2017

A group of 133 civil society organisations from many different backgrounds and countries, representing millions of people, demanding changes that are fundamental to achieving the just, equal and sustainable world.

Public Private Partnerships: Global Campaign Manifesto October 2017

In October, ahead of the World Bank and IMF annual meetings in Washington DC, 152 civil society organisations launched the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Global Campaign Manifesto.

Targeted social safeguards in the age of universal social protection: the IMF and health systems of low-income countries Thomas Stubbs, Alexander Kentikelenis, Published online: 16 Jun 2017

In offering loans to low-income countries in exchange for policy reforms, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) typically sets the fiscal parameters within which health systems develop. In a recent report released by the organisation, the IMF claims that their programmes have promoted social protection, including access to health care. The authors revisit the findings presented in the IMF’s assessment. Drawing on material collected from the IMF and empirical analyses, they show that the report is methodologically flawed, unduly optimistic and potentially misleading. The authors conclude by reflecting on the IMF’s steadfast endorsement of targeted social assistance, despite a global tide turn towards universal social provision.

The G20, the World Bank’s “Cascade”, and Trump: Going to any Length to “Crowd In” the Private Sector? Nancy Alexander, Just Governance May 2017

Nancy Alexander writes that risks are being transferred from private firms to the state, taxpayers, and consumers.

The Scorecard on Development, 1960–2016: China and the Global Economic Rebound  David Rosnick, Mark Weisbrot, and Jacob Wilson, Center for Economic and Policy Research, October 2017

This report looks at the rate of progress of economic, health, and social indicators, including per capita GDP, mortality, life expectancy, and education for all countries with available data. It examines the twenty-first century rebound for the majority of low- and middle-income countries after an unusual long-term decline in the rate of progress on most of these indicators in the last two decades of the twentieth century. It discuss the role of China in the twenty-first-century rebound, and the possible role of major policy changes that took place in many low- and middle-income countries, as well as other policy and institutional influences.

Ukraine: the Impact of Interventions by International Financial Institutions on Women Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, May 2017

In May the Geneva-based Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) submitted a written statement to the UN Human Rights Council addressing the impacts of IMF macro-economic reform programmes on women’s rights in Ukraine.

Will new mega-banks force a ‘race to the bottom’ for the environment? Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers, 2017

An overview of whether the closer linkages between with AIIB and the World Bank could force the World Bank to lower its standards.